Create beautifully embroidered art pieces featuring past and present female icons with Empowered Embroidery

With Art Makers: Empowered Embroidery, learn to sketch and stitch strong, recognizable women from all walks of life. Featuring sketching and illustration instructions, basic stitches, embroidery techniques, and 6 projects with portraits of famous women (Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, Michello Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman), this book is a must-have tool for hands-on artists and crafters. If you’re a beginning embroiderer, start with the basic stitches and embroidery instructions at the beginning of the book. Essential tools, warm-up exercises, tips for embroidering facial features and hair, and general information on embroidery will give you the know-how you need to get started.


This is when you begin to put the ideas on paper by sketching thoughts and ideas into icons and images. You can bring the ideas to life and give them a visual vocabulary. When referencing photographs or online images, be sure to use them as a guide, and don’t copy them. Interpret and expand upon what you see, adding your own details.


This is the time to decide what sketches and ideas stay and which ones get set aside for another project or kept in your sketchbook. Style and composition come into play here, and your style may be more realistic or simplistic. Think about how you want your embroidery to look. Does it consist of outlines, or are there areas that are filled with stitches to give the embroidery a bold look?

Line Drawing

To make an image suitable for embroidery, it’s important to transform your sketches and doodles into a clean line drawing. Using a pencil, an eraser, and tracing paper to refine drawing and finalize the layout and details. Now that you’ve gone through the process from research and brainstorm to sketches and refinement of a final line drawing, focus on the essential lines needed to embroider.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 in New York City. She became the longest-serving First Lady of the United States and fought fiercely for the poor, workers, women and youth groups, Japanese-Americans, miners, and the Civil Rights movement. She expanded the traditional role of First Lady into one that gave her time to write, teach, and pursue reform politics. Eleanor used her privilege to enact change and advocate for those who suffered the most.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was many things in her lifetime, including a poet, an actress, a screenwriter, a dancer, and a civil rights activist. Maya experienced prejudice and racism while growing up in the South, and these experiences led her to help her friends Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. fight racial injustice. Maya Angelou used the power of her words to champion equality for Black women and men. In her books, including the internationally acclaimed I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou explores issues of identity, family, racism, the struggle for freedom, and literacy. In spite of a life filled with sadness, death, and racial prejudice, Maya traveled the world and became a strong survivor, inspiring many lives with her writing and speaking.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was born around 1820 to enslaved parents. Conductor of the Underground Railroad, leading abolitionist, nurse, spy, and suffragist, Harriet escaped to freedom in 1849 and rescued and led dozens of enslaved people from Maryland to freedom in the North. One of her greatest achievements was the raid at the Combahee River, where Tubman and Union soldiers rescued more than 700 enslaved people working on nearby plantations. Harriet Tubman died on March 10, 1913, of pneumonia. She was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in New York.

About the author:

Amy L. Frazer is a Portland, Oregon–based illustrator, designer, and embroiderer. After studying art and illustration at the Columbus College of Art & Design, Amy worked as product designer. She left the corporate world in 2015 and now teaches art workshops in addition to working with a variety of clients. Learn more at